SUSTAINABLE FUNDING PLAN FOR INFRASTRUCTURE REPLACEMENT: “We are proud of what Oak Bay has been able to do in the past few years, but we have a challenging journey ahead of us. We like to celebrate successes but also be realistic about the work ahead of us that remains to be done,” stated Dan Horan, Director of Engineering & Public Works, District of Oak Bay in an article published in the Asset Management BC Newsletter (February 2022)
NOTE TO READER:
The Winter 2022 issue of the Asset Management BC Newsletter includes an article written by Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC, in collaboration with the District of Oak Bay’s Daniel Horan, Director of Engineering & Public Works, and Christopher Paine, Director of Financial Services.
PROFILE IN COURAGE: Oak Bay’s Sustainable Funding Plan for Infrastructure Replacement
“The District of Oak Bay is leading by example with its inter-departmental approach to embedding a life-cycle lens, along with a sustainable service delivery culture, into a local government finance vision. Moreover, the Oak Bay experience is a powerful illustration of how the over-arching vision for Living Water Smart, British Columbia’s Water Plan is influencing behaviour and outcomes at the local scale,” states Kim Stephens.
“Christopher Paine and Daniel Horan bring a fresh approach, energy, and innovative thinking to the sustainable infrastructure mission. The story of their collaboration is inspirational. Their enthusiasm is contagious!”
It takes courage to embrace an intergenerational ‘Finance Vision’
“To do what is right and necessary to bridge the infrastructure funding gap for constructed assets requires an intergenerational commitment. It takes courage on the part of a Council or Regional Board members to look beyond the short-term, understand what sustainable funding entails over the long-term, and direct staff to get on with the job,” continues Kim Stephens.
“A couple of key policy decisions that were completely outside of Oak Bay’s control contributed to this culture. The first related to a change in reporting requirements by the Public Sector Accounting Board. The second was the rollout of Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework in 2015,” explains Dan Horan.
“It was game-changing when the provincial government said that local governments will need asset management plans in place to apply for grants. Oak Bay Council and staff saw the writing on the wall. They could already see evidence of the level-of-service challenge around older infrastructure. So, they took the first steps to ensure Oak Bay would qualify for infrastructure grant programs.”
“Those steps, combined with savvy Councillors and senior staff knowing what Oak Bay needed to do, influenced Council’s strategic priorities process as well as updating of the Official Community Plan (OCP). Through these processes, Council communicated the message that we want to do these things because we want the community to be sustainable. Residents bought in.”
TO LEARN MORE:
To read the complete article, download a copy of “Profile in Courage – Oak Bay’s Sustainable Funding Plan for Infrastructure Replacement”.